MANILA Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle has expressed concern over the sad state of politics in the country and urged the faithful to be conscientious in choosing the next leaders in the coming May elections.
Tagle noted that the political landscape has turned ugly as shown by the destructive campaigning by rival candidates, obviously referring to those who are hotly contesting the presidential race.
“There’s been a lot of mudslinging. Regardless of whether it’s true or not, come what may, as long as the rival is overthrown,” he said.
This quest for personal success, the cardinal added, has led many people to forget Jesus’ infinite mercy and love that embraces all mankind.
According to the prelate, politics is the love to serve, as shown by Jesus’ gesture of washing the feet of His disciples.
“The washing of the feet is the work of a slave. Even Christ’s death is part of His service to us. He died for us to live,” the Cardinal said in an earlier homily at the Manila Cathedral.
“Love and service. Love that serves. Love until the end. And serve by loving until the end. That’s how to walk with Jesus,” he pointed out.
Tagle also called on the faithful to stand up for what is right.
“Let us not be like Pontius Pilate who chose his ambition over Jesus,” he said, adding that the country needs to cross to a place where justice and peace reigns.
On Holy Thursday, Tagle also washed and kissed the feet of 12 individuals, including Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Juan Andres Bautista, two persons with disabilities, his driver and family’s helper.
In his Easter Sunday message, the Cardinal said the resurrection of Jesus from death mercilessly inflicted on him by people blinded by ambition, power and narrow legalism gives the people hope.
“We often wonder whether decency, caring and courtesy still exist. We are shocked when we hear stories of cheating, theft and betrayal,” he added.
Tagle noted as well the recent terrorist attack in Brussels, Belgium, that left at least 30 people dead, the growing numbers of street children, beggars, youth dissipated by drugs, women trafficked into prostitution and slavery, families torn apart by poverty and parents searching for their missing children.
“Local and international events tempt us to be cynical and pessimistic,” he said. “But the Risen Lord changes the whole story.”
On Sunday, Bautista called on Filipino voters to reject candidates who circumvent or disregard election laws.
The Comelec chief said there are candidates who use the facilities and resources of public office for campaigning even if it is prohibited by law.
He also noted that a lot of candidates cannot even follow simple rules on common poster areas.
“It is best not to vote for those kind of candidates,” Bautista said. “I call on the voters to study each candidate to determine if one really wants to serve or just wants to get elected.”